The path to success
It’s all basketball, all the time for Coltin Elwell.
The 16-year-old St. Catharines native is taking a different path in his quest for an NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship.
Elwell has moved away from home to pursue his dream as a member of Oakville Basketball Prep, an elite basketball training program which plays games in the NPA, Canada’s Prep League.
“It’s definitely really hard,” Elwell admitted. “Obviously it’s a huge transition from staying at my own house and having my own food to living with 20 kids.
“You have to stay focused and I’m a homebody so it was even harder. I just have to really keep my mind focused and not get distracted.”
Elwell made the decision to leave St. Francis Secondary School and move to Oakville last season, which was cut short due to the COVID pandemic.
This year, it’s a full schedule and what a schedule it is.
Elwell lives in a giant home with 20 players who all go to school, work out and play together on the team. He is usually up between 4:30 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. each weekday morning at which time the players are shuttled to a gym. After working out it’s a full day of school, followed by a practice or game and then study time.
“At first it’s a lot but then eventually it just becomes your life,” he said. “It’s tiring. I’m tired enough to be asleep by 10-10:30 and that’s still only six-and-a-half or seven hours of sleep.”
Elwell became exposed to the program through a personal trainer who suggested he might be a good fit.
“I decided to just give it a shot,” said Elwell, a 6-foot-1 guard. “I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I had to prepare a lot and I thought it would be hard. I was definitely prepared, but it still makes it hard.”
Elwell said his brief exposure to the program last season gave him a leg up this time around.
“It’s a whole new roster this year so I kind of had the advantage because I already knew what it was like,” he said.
Elwell, whose recently netted a season-high 17 points, is listed as a guard on Oakville’s roster, but says he has filled a variety of roles on the team.
“I’m a shooter but that’s not saying that I can’t do anything else because that’s not true,” he said. “I have to work on my defence and we play position-less basketball so I don’t have like a certain thing where I can only shoot or I can only drive. When I get the ball I can just isolate or I can pass.”
Apart from his time at Oakville Prep, Elwell won a three-point shooting competition in late August in Brampton where he hit 19 of 20 from beyond the arc at NCAA distance.
“I went in with the mindset that I wasn’t going to lose,” Elwell said.
Elwell, who returns home on weekends when the schedule permits, realizes he is sacrificing a lot, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Asked if he has any regrets about his decision, he quickly answered, “No, not at all.”
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